W. Virginia Sex Shop Bill Goes to Judiciary Committee

CHARLESTON, W.V. - A bill that would enable city and county governments to restrict the location of adult businesses without enacting zoning ordinances moved forward last week in the House of Delegates, according to The Charleston Gazette.

House Bill 4001, sent by the House Political Subdivisions Committee to the Judiciary Committee with a recommendation for passage, would give local governments with no zoning laws in place the power to regulate how close sex shops are allowed to churches, schools or residences.

"You can't tell them they can't be in business," said House delegate Sam Argento, D-Nicholas, who attested that he and his neighbors were outraged when a store selling adult goods opened near the elementary school his grandchildren attend.

"I don't think it's the proper place to have that type of business," said Argento. "We finally got that one closed because the owner of the building pulled the lease."

There is another adult store located along a nearby freeway, but Argento said it has not been a problem. "It was open before the other one," he said.

The Political Subdivisions Committee had to define what a sex shop was, as many convenience stores sell sexual materials of some sort.

The definition agreed upon, taken from a Texas statute, is a "sex parlor, nude studio, modeling studio, love parlor, adult bookstore, adult movie theater, adult video arcade, adult movie arcade, adult video store, adult motel or other commercial enterprise the primary business of which is the offering of a service or the selling, renting or exhibiting of devices or any other items intended to provide sexual stimulation or sexual gratification to the customer."